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  World   Europe  21 Dec 2017  Rome angry over ‘toilet brush’ Christmas tree

Rome angry over ‘toilet brush’ Christmas tree

AGENCIES
Published : Dec 21, 2017, 6:11 am IST
Updated : Dec 21, 2017, 6:30 am IST

The tree, dubbed as “The Mangy One”, has become a symbol of what many see as “the eternal city’s eternal decay”.

Rome’s official Christmas tree stands in front of Unknown Soldier monument in Piazza Venezia Square. (Photo: AP)
 Rome’s official Christmas tree stands in front of Unknown Soldier monument in Piazza Venezia Square. (Photo: AP)

Rome: Romans are livid over the city’s official Christmas tree that has been dubbed “Spelacchio”, which, roughly translated, means mangy or bald.

The 70-foot high tree, which was lit up on December 8, started shedding needles as soon as it was hoisted in the middle of bustling Rome’s main square, Piazza Venezia.

The tree, which cost $57,000 to transport from South Tyrol, an Italian Alpine region, lost so many needles so fast that despite the 600 silver-colored decorative balls, its half-bare branches lend the square a forlorn rather than festive look.

The tree, dubbed as “The Mangy One”, has become a symbol of what many see as “the eternal city’s eternal decay”.

“It is clearly dead and it represents a shameful spectacle for citizens and tourists,” said the consumers’ group Codacons, and called for an investigation into why so much money was spent to transport the sickly tree to Rome.

On social media, many Romans have pointed a finger for the embarrassment at mayor Virginia Raggi, who has been facing criticism over the dire state of the city.

In recent years, Rome has fallen into disrepair with streets full of potholes, piles of garbage and unkempt public gardens. Even Pope Francis, the Guardian said, has decried the state of the city.

Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, whose enquiry found that the tree was not properly covered during transportation, declared it a national embarrassment, saying: “In Russia, they’ve dubbed our dying tree a ‘toilet brush’.”

Tags: christmas, rome